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Such were the complicated and unexampled miseries and calamities, which our Lord foretold to befal the unhappy Jews; and which, in the most exact conformity to his predictions, actually befel them. Is not the coincidence, in every material circumstance, between the productions of this unexpected and improbable event, and the historical account of its accomplishment, truly striking? But by whom is this historical account given? By Christians? No, but avowed enemies to Christianity; Josephus, a Jew; Tacitus and Luctonius, Romans. But might not the three evangelical histories, which contain the predictions of the destruction of Jerusalem, be compiled after the event happened? It is impossible. From the most authentic records which we have of those times, it appears, that the evangelists Matthew, Mark, and Luke, far from compiling and publishing their histories after the destruction of Jerusalem, died before that event happened. And, which is truly worthy of remark, the evangelist John, who survived that catastrophe, predicted nothing concerning it.
To a circumstance, suggested already, I cannot but recal the reader's attention. Is it not truly remarkable, that the first encampment of the Roman army before Jerusalem; the first breach
made in the lower city; the burning of the temple; and the taking and burning of the citadel; all happened on the first day of the week, or the Lord's day. Was this recurrence of the Lord's day, on four such memorable occasions, the effect of accident or chance? No, it was, replies an ingenius writer, among the times and seasons determined by omniscience from the foundation of the world. Does it not carry in it a strong intimation, that, though this dreadful calamity befel the Jews, on account of a long series of complicated and aggravated crimes, that which, in an especial manner, procured and hastened it, was a recent enormous deed, the crucifixion of the Lord of Glory; to perpetuate the memory of whose triumphant resurrection, this day was instituted, and will continue to be observed in the Christian church, to the end of the world? Our Lord had said, this generation shall not pass till all these things be fulfilled. In this respect, as well as all others, the prophecy was literally fulfilled. The destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem, the total overthrow of the nation and the churchof the Jews, happened in less than forty years after the prophecy was delivered. Many therefore, of that generation, must have been eyewitnesses of its awful completion, and sharers in the horrors and miseries which accompanied it.
It is natural to ask, for what crime or crimes did this dreadful calamity befal the nation and church of the Jews? Obvious is the answer. For a series of ages they had sinned with a high hand; their punishment was, by prophet after prophet, threatened; but, in the long suffering of God, delayed. But now the fatal time had arrived, at which judgment was to begin at the house of God. An enumeration of their complicated and aggravated offences I will not attempt. Suffice it to say, that injustice and oppression, cruelty and bloodshed, had, in an especial manner, hastened their ruin. Is not this the plain purport of our Saviour's words-Behold, I send unto you 'pro-' phets, and wise men, and scribes; and some of them ye shall kill and crucify, and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city; that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth; from the blood of righteous Abel, unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation. O Ferusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee-behold your house is left unto you desolate. After shedding the innocent and precious blood of many great and good men, prophets and martyrs, and
many other men, they dared, at last, to embrue their impious hands in the sacred blood of the Son of God. On this account, for this cause, their destruction was hastened. Wrath, as an apostle expresses it, came upon them to the uttermost. Must not cruelty, in every form of which it is susceptible, be hateful to God? If the sheding of innocent blood was criminal in former times, can it be lawful now? It is impossible. The antediluvian law, Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed, is now, as much as ever, in full force. It is an express law of heaven, and to heaven the powers of the earth must, in the end, answer for the non-execution of it. Traffickers, owners, managers, overseers, murderers of slaves, tremble! Your nefarious, cruel, bloody, deeds, heaven every day beholds, and will infallibly punish. In every age, and in every country, innocent blood cries from the earth that receives it; and the cry of it never can fail to ascend to heaven. For reaso best known to himself, the almighty Ruler of the universe, the impartial Judge of the earth, now permits tyrants and despots. But will he permit them, for ever, to torture and murder their fellow creatures? No; in power and in duration they are circumscribed within limits, which are more fixed and permanent than the perpetual mountains or the
everlasting hills. Their cruelties, barbarities, and murders, are all registered in heaven. The day will shortly dawn, in which the dread tribunal is to be erected, and the books are to be opened, and both the quick and the dead, who are then to be raised, judged out of the books.
Is the oppression of mankind, in all the various modifications and forms which it assumes, incompatible with the essential rights of humanity; and an insult to that great Being, who made man efter his own image; and who has, in the strictest manner, prohibited it? Has it, in numerous instances, drawn down the vengeance of heaven on nations as well as individuals? Then justice to the subject, to my fellow creatures, and to my own conscience, requires me, before I dismiss the cause for which I plead, to subjoin, to the nations of Christendom, which are unhappily engaged in the deliterious and fatal commerce and slavery of the human species, especially the Africans, a solemn warning and caution to desist, speedily desist, from a practice so offensive to the Deity, and so pernicious to mankind. This arduous and delicate task I undertake from the most generous motives, and with the most benevolent views, by which the human mind can be actuated. And, therefore, if I can afford no relief to my op